On the heels of the Collar X Malice Unlimited fandisk announcement, Idea Factory and Otomate revealed through their twitter account that Collar X Malice is also getting an anime adaptation in the near future. This is not the first otome game to get an anime adaptation, with Hakuoki, Amnesia Memories, OZMAFIA, and Code Realize to name a few all getting the anime treatment.
For those of you not familiar with Collar X Malice, it’s a mystery, suspense, thriller otome game originally developed by Idea Factory under their Otomate brand in 2016 for PS Vita. The game was later localized by Aksys Games in 2017 for an English language release. The game follows Ichika Hoshino a young police officer in Shinjuku, Tokyo after she becomes the unwitting victim of a mysterious terrorist organization that have been terrorizing the city with several large scale attacks. Ichika is captured by the organization and fitted with a collar set to dispense poison into her neck unless she uncovers the truth behind the attacks. With her life on the line and the fate of the city hanging in the balance, Ichika is approached by five mysterious strangers who offer to help her get to the bottom of the crimes and hopefully save the people of Shinjuku and herself in the process.
The premise alone has everything you need for a great story; action, suspense, mystery, romance… I can’t wait to see what the anime has in store for us (and I sincerely hope they do the story justice). But, that got me thinking, what other otome games would I like to see get an anime adaptation? I mean, really, everyone assumes that otome games are just a lot of romance and that’s it. But, the truth is, otome games have some of the best stories that cover a wide range of subjects and genres that would make for amazing anime series. So, I wracked my brain a bit and came up with a list of otome games I think really deserve to have an anime adaptation.
Everybody knows about Mystic Messenger, but before that Cheritz released two PC games, that have kind of flown under the radar after the success of the mobile phenomenon. I love Dandelion: Wishes Brought to You, but the real stand out is their sophomore title, fantasy romance otome game, Nameless~ The one thing you must recall.
The game has a pretty unique premise, a young girl, Eri is often left alone since her parent’s work keeps them away from home alot. To combat her loneliness, she collects ball jointed dolls. She spends most of her free time and money on them, and has even taken to talking to them on occasion, sharing stories with them about her life, treating them like the family she desperately craves. One day, Eri awakes to find that her beloved dolls have come to life, each with their memories of being dolls intact. With no way to turn them back, Eri comes up with a fake backstory for the boys and they all start living together.
Who doesn’t love a good reverse harem? Each of the dolls has their own unique personalities and it would be really cool to see them play off of one another as they vie for Eri’s affections. But, Nameless is a game with a lot of depth, from Eri’s feelings of loneliness and abandonment, to the dolls having to adjust to their new lives and humans, there’s a lot of potential for some drama.
7’scarlet follows Ichiko Hanimaki, a young woman who is looking for her brother, after he disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the quiet secluded town of Okunezato. She and her childhood friend Hino, stumble onto a website detailing the mysteries of the town and decide to attend a online meetup hosted by some of the site’s members in order to investigate her brother’s disappearance. Once there, interact with the members of the Okunezato Supernatural Club, and delve into some of the secrets of the town. But, when a string of mysterious deaths begins to take place revealing secrets some in the town would rather keep buried.
This is one of those titles that proves that there is more to otome games than just romance. 7’scarlet has everything, action, adventure, suspense, and pretty damn good murder mystery! Romance is secondary to carefully woven mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I could not put this game down until I got to the bottom of the truth and the finale is worth it!
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk is the second game in the Psychedelica universe (following Black Butterfly) and the darker of the two games. I should preface this by saying that you don’t need to have played Psychadelica of the Black Butterfly since the two games follow a different set of characters and storyline. However, playing both does give you a better sense of the world of the two games.
The game takes place in a town plagued by an eternal winter, where it is believed that the their problems are caused by a witch, a woman born with red eyes. The citizens of the town believe that the witch will bring the The protagonist, Eiar is a young woman whose right eye turns red when she experiences strong emotions. In order to protect herself, she disguises herself as a one-eyed boy named Jed and moves into a dilapidated tower on the outskirts of town. She lives a peaceful life, but when a priceless antique goes missing, Eiar/Jed learns secrets about the town and herself that could change the fates of everyone she knows.
Ashen Hawk is a game that dials down the romance in favor of telling a really good story, and it should not be taken lightly. The characters struggle and there are real consequences for their actions throughout the game. If you’re expecting everything to be tied up in a nice neat bow with everyone skipping off into the sunset, this is not the game for you, but, I think this realistic approach would work well for a grittier anime series.
Steam Prison is one of the most recent otome games to be localized, but, it definitely has the makings of a good steampunk adventure. Like Collar X Malice, this game follows a police officer, a young woman named Cyrus Tistella who lives in the affluent utopian city, called the Heights. With a recent promotion and an upcoming wedding, things are looking up for our young heroine. But, after a routine observation mission to the Depths, a desolate region where the the most vile criminals are sent to atone for their sins, Cyrus finds her world turned upside down. Accused of murdering her parents, Cyrus is stripped of her titles and wealth and sent to the Depths, there she finds her world view changing as she uncovers the truths behind the Heights and the Depths.
There are so many themes discussed in this game that would be just perfect for an anime series, from the vastly different worldviews of the people in the Heights and the Depths, to the various hardships Cyrus faces as she adapts to life in the Depths. There are quite a few sword fighting scenes and I would absolutely love to see them animated!! The romance is not as prominent as it is in most otome games, but, that’s also part of the appeal, since Steam Prison spends most of its time world building and fleshing out the characters.
This one isn’t localized, but there is an English patch for all three of the games in the franchise. Dot Kareshi is a short otome game franchise from Rejet ( the folks behind Diabolik Lovers). Currently there are three games in the series: The Legendary Maiden, Tenkuu no Kiss, and Yami no Hanayome. Each game features a different set of love interests and a different set of scenarios to explore, though the premise is largely the same. A young woman is transported into her RPG game and forced to participate in missions and quests with her in game party of hot guys (made up of traditional RPG classes).
Dot Kareshi is one of the more chill otome games out there and I think it would make an amazing short form anime, maybe something similar to what they did with the OZMAFIA anime. The game is pretty short, but there’s enough interesting world building that could be used to create some new original content. Like we could definitely explore the different side quests and missions that the gang goes on or the different cities and towns they visit. Or maybe their interactions with NPCs, the anime could even do something cool like include some of the worlds and characters from the other two Dot Kareshi games!
Nightshade is set in the Sengoku Period and has a lot of characters based on historical figures and there are a few mentions of actual historical events. During the Sengoku Period there are two ninja clans at war with one another, the Iga clan and the Koga. In 1853, Nobunaga Oda waged the Tensho Iga war, almost destroying the Iga clan. Seventeen years pass and the remaining Iga clan members became one with the Koga despite their years of feuding. The protagonist, Enju is the daughter of the leader of the Koga clan, who has spent years training to become a ninja worthy of living up to her family name. Her hard work is finally acknowledged when she is assigned her first ever mission, but, soon she finds herself drawn into a dark conspiracy that will change her life forever.
Nightshade is a bit of a cross between Naruto and Yona of the Dawn, it has a strong heroine, ninjas, and historical fiction, which we’ve already seen done with much success in anime before. We need more action anime with female leads and that’s exactly what we get with Nightshade. Romance is still a part of the plot, but, it isn’t the end all, there are some bittersweet moments and tragedy to give the story more depth, not to mention the various characters and world building opportunities that could easily fill out a few seasons of an anime.
I absolutely love this game, this is what Bad Apple Wars should have been! From the developers behind the ever popular Starry Sky series comes a bittersweet supernatural fantasy otome that will have you shedding more than a few tears. Re:Birthday Song ~Koi o Utau Shinigami~ is equal parts high school romance and human drama. The game follows Kokoro a young girl who suddenly becomes the newest resident of the Netherworld, a place where souls with deep regrets go when they die. There they train to become shinigami, beings that ferry the souls of the dead to the afterlife. Unfortunately, Kokoro isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, so she’s made to take supplemental lessons with a group of shinigami rejects.
Re:Birthday Song offers a nice twist on the usual high school drama by throwing in a supernatural fantasy element that I think would be perfect in an anime series. Each character was sent to the Netherworld for a specific reason, some of which are really heartbreaking, but really gives the story a lot of weight. There are a lot of great personalities among the love interests and an anime series could easily have lots of material to work with.
Sweet Fuse: At Your Side is an action adventure otome game, with puzzles and mini games that make for a really immersive gaming experience. Saki Inafune, the niece of famous game creator Keiji Inafune is invited to the grand opening of a new theme park with attractions based on all of her uncle’s games. What should have been a day of fun and excitement quickly takes a turn for the worse, when a crazed pig kidnaps Inafune and the park’s board of directors and demands that seven of the park’s attendees participate in a series of trial or else he’ll blow the entire park and everyone in it sky high. With her uncle’s life on the line Saki volunteers to participate in the deadly game along with six eligible bachelors, she must solve the sadistic pig’s puzzles within the seven day time limit or suffer the consequences.
This otome game is seriously underrated! Sweet Fuse was one of the first otome games I ever played and I still have fond memories of it to this day. There’s comedy, action, puzzles, romance, and even a mystery, this game is seriously a lot of fun. Sweet Fuse is more of an adventure/puzzle VN than your usual otome game title, but, that gives it so much potential as an anime, since the romance is secondary, it should be easier to create a more general storyline that incorporates all of the little revelations from the individual routes. Besides, the characters have pretty dynamic personalities, a gruff host, a loner gamer, a famous idol, a tough as nails detective, a psychic, and a jaded reporter… and of course the leading lady, Saki, a headstrong and cleaver young woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone!
Anime adaptations of otome games have a been a bit hit or miss, since it’s difficult to fully condense the multi-layered branching plotlines of an otome game to fit in a standard anime runtime. Most usually just run with the generic canon storyline and love interest, in order to give the anime a more streamlined narrative. But, that method tends to leave out some of the finer details in favor of a cohesive linear story. So, I’m curious to see how they plan on adapting the complex storyline of Collar X Malice for an anime, since each route builds on a different aspect of an overarching mystery.
But, in the meantime, we can watch some of the anime adaptations already out there and maybe imagine what it would be like to see some of our favorite otome games as anime series… Of course, this is just my list, I want to hear from you guys… What otome games do you think would make good anime series? And if you’re not an otome games fan, what other media would you like to see an anime adaptation of?